Another day on the practice fields is done, and so far the Mariners have gone 2-for-2 in workouts without anyone pulling up lame.
There might be some general soreness, especially in the legs of the catches who must handle all the bullpens of the 29 pitchers who’ve thrown so far. But manager Eric Wedge said everyone feels fine.
“It was another good day,” Wedge said. “Things went a little more fluid, which is to be expected.”
A few things that stood out from today’s work:
• Felix Hernandez stepped onto the mound for the first time as a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, throwing a nice, easy, no-frills bullpen. He threw for 10 minutes and got a lot of “attaboys” from catcher Adam Moore. “Felix is a special pitcher with special ability, and he looked good,” Wedge said.
• Right-hander Chris Ray, a candidate for late-inning relief (if not closer duty while David Aardsma recovers from hip surgery), threw his first bullpen as a Mariner. His stuff was firm, as they say, although his rapid, jerky motion also had a few onlookers realize why he’s had elbow issues.
• Speaking of a different throwing motion, non-roster left-hander Royce Ring looked a little like former Mariner George Sherrill in the way he hides the ball. Ring has a short arm circle after he pulls the ball from his glove and flips it to the plate with a sidearm delivery. It’s that kind of deception that made Sherrill such an effective pitcher against left-handed hitters.
• If you think 6-foot-5, 240-pound (as listed) Michael Pineda looks huge standing on the mound, how would it feel to be a diminutive baserunner chugging to first base with Pineda covering the bag? That thought clearly came to mind today during the pitchers’ fielding drills when the Mariners worked on covering first base. Pineda is huge, and baserunners better hope he doesn’t have to cross the bag in order to catch a throw.
• Wedge, while talking about Ken Griffey Jr.’s new role as a consultant, believes it’s important for the team to remain connected to its past. He’s not only happy that Griffey will spend some time at spring training, Wedge said he also has invited Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson and John Olerud to Peoria.
• Non-roser pitcher Yusmeiro Pettit is expected to arrive in a day or two after being delayed in Venezuela because of visa problems.